The Spectacle of Excess Posts

January 11, 2018 /

The air is heavy with the scent of rice crackers and seaweed-wrapped rice balls, and I am grieving. It’s February 2016 in Osaka, I’m here for the New Beginning show, and three days ago Daniel Bryan announced his retirement from wrestling. The people around me are nibbling on snacks, chatting about the card in the darkened arena, waiting. Beside me, Dan is bowed over with his head in his hands. He started to get a…

December 23, 2017 /

Photo Credit: Alan Rolette, RiverHorse Wrestling Photography Spectacle of Excess is delighted to interview the Ambassador of the World Wrestling Network, Trevin Adams. WWN is an umbrella organization that governs a network of independent wrestling promotions that include EVOLVE Wrestling, SHINE Wrestling, Full Impact Pro Wrestling, Style Battle, Viva La Lucha, WWN Supershow and American Combat Wrestling, among others. WWN produces and distributes streaming wrestling content that is available for purchase on WWNLive.com, which is…

December 18, 2017 /

[Warning for intense bloody imagery in this essay.] Final Battle 2010, the climax of Kevin and Generico’s bloody feud, takes place in the dead of winter, but I watch it many years later in the early spring, when the leaves are that particular luminous green that’s almost golden. (The leaves are important. We’ll get back to the leaves.) The year-long arc, from 2009 to 2010, from Final Battle to Final Battle, is Kevin’s story. I…

November 29, 2017 /

(Quick warning for some bloody imagery below.) Some moments in wrestling are staggeringly momentous, huge enough to fill a stadium with emotion, so titanic that the audience’s reaction becomes itself part of the moment: the Miz winning the world title; the breaking of the Undertaker’s streak. Some are smaller, more intimate, shared with a group of hundreds at a small show or a live event. Some are so fleeting and personal they may only touch…

November 25, 2017 /

Greetings friends! I have emerged from the abyss with the fourth in my series of posts about the art  of the fabulous Punkrockbigmouth. Check parts I, II, and III if you’re interested, and be sure to check out all of PRBM’s work on punkrockbigmouth.tumblr.com. The term “cartoon satire” doesn’t structure quite right for an -ism, but let’s get over ourselves. Not all -isms can logistically take on the suffix, and I’m just making all this…

November 15, 2017 /

Wrestling is repetitive. At its worst, it’s a frustrating experience, full of dead ends and pointless loops, events that pile up without a story to tie them together, jolting along until they merely stop without closure. But there’s promise and potential there, too. Given enough time and patience, some luck and stubbornness and inspiration, you could put all those repeating patterns together into stories that echo and resonate off each other, like bells that never quite…

November 1, 2017 /

There’s a quote by Edmund Burke that I came across in college. For years, a copy of it in careful violet-ink handwriting was taped to my computer, where I would see it every day: Never despair. But if you do, work on in despair. It’s… not the most uplifting of inspirational quotes, I suppose. The bright assertion of the beginning (Never give up! Hustle, loyalty, respect!) is undermined by the resigned weariness at the end:…

October 26, 2017 /

It’s late 2015, Dan and I have figured out how to buy tickets for New Japan Pro Wrestling shows and managed to attend a couple of shows: in the mountains of Gifu, in the sumo hall in our home base of Nagoya. We’ve even become members of the NJPW fan club, which gives us access to perks and better seats. It’s time to finally make our way to Tokyo and the Mecca of professional wrestling…

October 19, 2017 /

“I’m not sure I should watch this,” I say. We’ve gotten home from work and Smackdown is queued up and ready to go. I know Sami cuts a promo on Daniel Bryan and then he and Kevin win the main event together. Everyone on my timeline is thrilled. It’s the storyline I’ve been looking forward to for years. “I mean it,” I say. “I’m really not sure I should watch this.” “Aren’t you happy for…

October 11, 2017 /

To steal and adapt a saying, some wrestlers are born to their characters, some achieve their characters, and some have their characters thrust upon them. Kevin seems to have been born to his character–a cocky, sneering prodigy who happens to be better than anyone else in the room and knows it (Samoa Joe supposedly said of him way back in 2003, “The arrogant little prick is almost as good as he thinks he is.”*) El…